The More Innovative You Are, The More You Get Sued; Yet Another Patent Lawsuit Over Shazam

from the aren't-patents-great? dept

Earlier this year, we noted that Apple and AT&T had been sued for patent infringement concerning Shazam, the popular service for identifying music. At the time, we noted how this was a clear demonstration of the difference between just the idea and the actual innovation. Shazam has been around for ages, and despite having a good idea (ability to identify music just by hearing it), it struggled for many, many years until the iPhone came along, and there was a platform on which its concept made sense. During that time Shazam kept trying out new things and improving its service. The basic concept behind Shazam (identifying music) isn't that interesting. It was all the work that Shazam kept doing over the years to find the right mix of things that consumers wanted that made it worthwhile.

But, of course, patent holders continue to insist that it's the original idea only that's important.

So, once again, Shazam's service is involved in a patent lawsuit, this time from Digimarc, who has sued Shazam directly, claiming infringement. Now, Digimarc claims that Shazam is infringing on its patents, even though Digimarc does not offer a similar service at all. In fact, Digimarc is in an entirely different business: it's really a DRM company who wants to try to stop people from sharing or appreciating content, by locking it down. More recently, Digimarc has been focused on patenting its watermarking concept (despite plenty of prior art), and going the lawsuit route.

So, we have the tales of two companies who have been around for quite some time. One is focused on providing unique and compelling solutions that make consumers' lives better. And the other is focused on locking things down and talking about its intellectual property. Guess which one's getting sued by the other? So, please, explain again how patents encourage innovation? Once more, it looks like patents are being used to prevent actual innovating by those who prefer to lock up ideas.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2009 @ 4:16pm

    Yeah, that's why we open our company in Gibraltar.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Randy Holley, 18 Nov 2009 @ 6:00pm

    I don't have a problem with AT&T

    Looks like AT&T has the best user experience. Confused? So was I until I found this video. Click here to see the truth about how AT&T stacks up against the competition.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2009 @ 6:59pm

      Re: I don't have a problem with AT&T

      Hmmm, sounds like a biased opinion to me Randy, especially when you provide me with a link to a commercial!
      Let me guess, you’re one of the Randy Holley’s who’s listed here along with someone called Scott Holley who lists his employer as At&T Advanced Solutions, Inc.

      Brother, Father, Son, Cousins, what’s the relationship?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    roxanneadams (profile), 18 Nov 2009 @ 6:06pm

    It's too bad that Shazam might be sued out of existence. I buy music all the time after using my G1 to identify a song that's playing somewhere.

    It's amazing how great this service works. The rowdies in the apartment building next door to us were playing what sounded like rap music at full volume. From inside my condo, I pressed the Shazam icon on my phone, just for the hell of it, and within seconds, the program identified the song and the artist that was playing through closed windows, across an alley in the next building over.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    staff, 19 Nov 2009 @ 1:45pm

    stop the shilling!!!

    If you had more knowledge of invention you would understand that when you're too far out front it takes time to work out the kinks or for the market time to catch up with you. It took McCormick 8 years to sell his first reaper. It took Chester Carlson over 10 years to get xerography to a marketable level. Write about things you know something about -like payola.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Vic kley, 19 Nov 2009 @ 2:12pm

    More Innovative More Litigate

    It is a truly wonderful fact that under the present system you are more likely to be sued if your product is in an area of commercial success then in a yet to emerge new area or the Buggy Whip business.

    To innovate you usually have to build or be allied with a substantial company and if you are in a technology rather then marketing area probably need IP in order to convince your board, VC or banker to fund the innovation- so PATENT GOOD for innovation RIGHT?

    Someone else thinks their patent should trump yours - exactly what is wrong with that? If you are successful you surely can defend or buy a license as you wish.

    Tell me Mike how else do we find the winners? Are you going to say whose IP should be innovated or set some other measure that gives IP to those who failed to obtain it on their own because you Mike Maslick thinks it better?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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